Unfolded protein response (UPR) triggered as a consequence of ER stress has been shown to be involved in the development of different pathologies, including fibrotic disorders. In the present paper we explore the role played by UPR on a key fibrogenic parameter in the liver: collagen type I levels in activated hepatic stellate cells (HSC). Using Brefeldin A (BFA) as an ER stress inducer we found that UPR correlated with enhanced mRNA and protein levels of collagen type I in a cell line of immortalized non-tumoral rat HSC. Analysis of the three branches of UPR revealed the activation of IRE1¿, PERK and ATF6 in response to BFA, although PERK activation was shown not to be involved in the fibrogenic action of BFA. BFA also activated p38 MAPK in an IRE1¿-dependent way and the p38 MAPK inhibitor SB203580 prevented the increase in collagen type I mRNA and protein levels caused by BFA, suggesting the involvement of this kinase on this effect. Analysis of Smad activation showed that phosphorylated nuclear levels of Smad2 and 3 were increased in response to BFA treatment. Inhibition of Smad3 phosphorylation by SIS3 prevented the enhancement of collagen type I levels caused by BFA. Pretreatment with IRE1¿ and p38 MAPK inhibitors also prevented the increased p-Smad3 accumulation in the nucleus, suggesting an IRE1¿-p38 MAPK-Smad pathway to be responsible for the fibrogenic action of BFA on HSC.